2011 Pikes Peak Hill Climb Finish - Click above for high-res image gallery
The Monster has taken the mountain. The wind was whipping wildly, yet the sun shone brightly on one particular Colorado peak. We imagine if felt like a spotlight for Nobuhiro Tajima – the Japanese Hill Climb pilot managed to reduce his 2007 Pikes Peak record time by just over 10 seconds. Monster had said his goal was simply to break his own record, but we all knew he wanted to get under the 10-minute barrier. He did just that – and then some. Clearly, the adjusted setup applied to the Monster Sport Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special, has paid off. The new time to beat at Pike's Peak is 9:51.278.
Unfortunately, The rest of the Unlimited Class wasn't able to walk away smiling like Monster. Paul Dallenbach had recorded seriously quick times with his 1,300-horsepower hill climb machine during practice thanks to Banks Power, who supplied a pair of turbochargers. The Dallenbach team had high hopes for race day, but a stalled start was an early bad omen. Less than a minute later, a broken axle left him stranded just one mile into the race.
Rhys Millen and his RMR Hyundai-powered PM580 also ended the day with disappointment. For the second year in a row, mechanical issues caused Millen to run far slower than he's capable. Millen's brakes gave out with around four miles left in the course, which would be a game-ending occurence for lesser drivers. Rhys plugged on, and passed the finish line in 10:09.30. Rhys believes he was losing two seconds per corner due to the damaged stoppers, so the time was surprisingly quick for the hampered PM580.
Dacia's entry finished in third in the Unlimited class and fared quite well for it's first competition on a mountain. With Frenchman Jean Philippe Dayraut behind the wheel, the GT-R-powered Duster crossed the line with an impressive time of just 10:17.707.
Rod Millen, returning to the mountain for the first time in more than 10 years, managed to set a new record in the 2WD Time Attack Class. Millen used his son's Formula Drift Hyundai Genesis Coupe and ran from bottom to top in 11:04.912. His close friend and rival, Jeff Zwart, finished less than three seconds behind in his Porsche 911 GT2 RS. After the race, the elder Millen said this would most definitely be his last year to compete at Pikes Peak, although he greatly appreciated his son's invitation to drive the mountain one last time.
In the 4WD Time Attack Division, a wreck by Stephan Verdier in his Subaru Impreza WRX STI and a flat rear tire for David Kern's Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution left the victory to Brianne Corn of San Marcos, Texas – one of five females to enter the race. Corn is the first woman to win her division since Michele Mouton in 1984.
Finally, Colorado Springs native Randy Schranz, 63, completed his 37th Pikes Peak Hill Climb, breaking the previous record of 36 set by Louis Unser. Schranz won the Pikes Peak Open division with a time of 11:55.132.